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National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior

American System-Built Homes

American System Built Homes, Model B1

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Frank Lloyd Wright, born in Wisconsin and considered perhaps America’s greatest architect, did not design only for the wealthy. In 1917, in Milwaukee, he launched the American System Built line of small, pre-fabricated homes that were expected to appeal to the average American. On West Burnham Street in the Burnham Street Historic District, a one-of-a-kind cluster of six of these low-cost homes survives and is being preserved by the Frank Lloyd Wright Wisconsin Program with the aid of a Save America’s Treasures grant. Restoration funds have been applied to two of these structures: a Model B1 bungalow (the only surviving example of its kind) and a Model C3 bungalow. It is hoped that by visiting these homes, architecture enthusiasts can better appreciate Wright’s unique ability to design for the human scale. “I would rather solve the small house problem than build anything else I can think of…,” Wright said.

Photo: American System Built Homes, Model B1

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